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After catching Princess Elaine and Prince Haven in a state of scandalous flagrante (by which we mean, being flagrantly scandalous? Or flagrantly disobedient?) King Oberon chose to exile the two of them to “a place of his choosing.” He was remarkably calm, even after Prince Haven scored a mark on him. Prince Haven and Princess Elaine were flung through Shadow into a clearing somewhere near a road of smooth yellow brick. The King called for the execution of his wife, Lora, presumably to raise “a more obedient generation.” Prince Morombath was given leave to follow up his duties in a place of repose. Instead, he followed his instincts (and, incidentally, a lover) to Chaos, where he became the guest of Duke Isaac “the Silver-Tongued” and Isaac’s lover, Duke Trahern of Celestine City.
Time Passes. The son of the Lord of the Moonriders Akonisho and his siege against Rebma is broken by the Baronness Calypso. He disappears, presumed dead. What Princess Elaine and Prince Haven were supposed to be doing for Rebma was accomplished by Prince Thomas of Celestine City, who also disappears after the fight.
The Unicorn has not been seen in Amber in over a century.
In the official history, the King’s next wife, Rilga, has a son, Xavan the Misfortunate. Rilga and Oberon have many falling-outs, and she spends more time away from the Castle than in it. Oberon has an affair with Dybele that leads to no children. Rilga leaves Oberon, swearing some form of vengeance. In the meantime, Oberon spends more and more time dallying in Shadow. From one of his dalliances, Prince Bernaise is brought to Amber, to lead the Rangers and other forces Oberon has begun to build in order to better defend his Realm.
Dworkin Trumps Haven to give him the signet ring that marks him as Prince of the City. Haven and Elaine respond in tandem. Dworkin, perplexed as to Elaine’s being there, offers her a ring from his own finger as it would be impolite to give Haven a gift without him having more to share. Dworkin says he hopes to see them soon, but leaves quickly. Haven does a little bit of sorcerous poking about the rings, to find that, actually, its better to leave off that poking.
Haven and Elaine subvert the Emerald City to become their personal stately pleasure dome. The (not-so-)Cowardly Lion is left as regent, while they raise an army of elite, if eclectic units in the fast time Shadow of Valdemar.
When alerted by certain measures he had put in place, Dworkin informs Oberon that he believes the King has a son in a place far off near Chaos. The King retrieves this son, Kaathan, a tall noble of the House of the Dragon. Rilga’s child. It will be seen if Kaathan is truly of the noble blood. Dworkin thinks there are others Oberon has left scattered, and goes on a quest of his own to consolidate them. After all, war is moving through Shadow. Bernaise and Xavan are brought in to take this strange man’s measure.
Prince Morombath is brought in to investigate a strange visitor to Sways, one from a seemingly high-tech shadow, who is confused and alone except for a powerful artifact. The stranger has the Mark of Doom.
Prince Haven’s preternatural army is nearing a readiness for war. Soon they can march. He has consulted the Jewel of Sunlight, Ama, who promises her blessing for some of his vampiric troops, in exchange for some of his lifeforce.